It creeps up on you when you least expect it: the racing heart, strained breathing, full-body shakes and dreaded cold sweat. Yup, anxiety attacks can be seriously terrifying – no matter whether it’s a medical condition, a lost job, a bad break up or simply stress that’s to blame. The good news? There are a few simple things you can do to keep the panic at bay.
1. Keep moving
As part of the ‘flight or fight’ response, the body releases adrenaline that often causes us to freeze up. “Don’t stay still,” intuitive counsellor and therapist Jodi Aman tells Hello Giggles.
“Doing something changes the chemicals in the brain, it releases the GABA hormone that puts the breaks on the adrenaline.”
2. Get some fresh air
Even if it’s just a case of opening a window. Getting outdoors can help bring your focus to the warmth of the sun on your face, the breeze in your hair and above all, remind you to breathe.
3. Embrace essential oils
Aromatherapy can be a Godsend when you’re in the throes of panic. A whiff of lavender can instantly instil a sense of calm, while frankincense, vetiver and bergamot are great choices too.
4. Go to your happy place
It could be a beach, garden or even your family home. Wherever it is, close your eyes and remember what it feels, smells and tastes like to be there. The idea is that by engaging all of your senses, you’ll find yourself forgetting to think about whatever started your panic.
3. Bring yourself back to reality
“If you find yourself panicking and you cognitively see that you are literally physically safe (i.e. no scary animal charging at you), you have to say, ‘I’m safe,’ Jodi explains. “This feeling is just hormones. They’ll go away if I remember I am safe’.”